Discovery News

Discovery Communications Announces – “Connect the Dots” – a New National STEM Education Initiative to Inspire the Next Generation of Innovators, Problem Solvers and Game Changers

-- Connects STEM education programs across Discovery Channel, Science Channel, Discovery Education and Digital platforms --

-- Includes Discovery Education STEM Camp, a no-cost, standards-aligned STEM curriculum for schools, camps and at-home learning --

-- Begins search for the next great innovator with the premiere of THE BIG BRAIN THEORY: PURE GENIUS featuring Kal Penn tonight at 10 p.m. E/P on Discovery Channel --

(Silver Spring, Md.) Discovery Communications today announced “Connect the Dots,” a new multimedia, national STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) education initiative designed to provide pathways for kids to achieve today and lead tomorrow by inspiring interest in STEM subjects and careers within industries looking for highly skilled workers. By connecting kids, parents and schools with all of Discovery’s STEM programs across its networks, education and digital platforms, “Connect the Dots” will help make STEM a critical part of kids’ lives, prepare them for the jobs of the future and inspire the next great discovery.

Programs under “Connect the Dots” include: the launch of the Discovery Education STEM Camp program, offering after school and summer resources for educators and parents at no cost; the new science-focused series THE BIG BRAIN THEORY: PURE GENIUS searching for the next great innovator and premiering May 1 at 10 p.m. E/P on Discovery Channel; a partnership between Science Channel, its cornerstone series HOW ITS MADE and America’s manufacturers to promote careers in the skilled trades; and the Lumosity Education Access Program (LEAP), a no-cost program for K-12 schools that seeks to study the effects of cognitive training in the classroom.

“Our kids are the next generation of innovators, problem solvers and game changers, and we need them to take on the planet’s challenges and shape a bright, healthy future by embracing STEM careers,” said David Zaslav, President and CEO of Discovery Communications. “Through its unique position as a company founded on igniting curiosity across generations, and with science, technology, engineering and math in our DNA, Discovery is proud to utilize its platforms to help connect the dots between learning and living, theory and practice, algebra and video game design – and inspire the next generation of innovators and leaders in STEM.”

“As President Obama said at the latest White House Science Fair, when we inspire students to excel in math and science, we are investing in American jobs and industries of the future,” said John P. Holdren, Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. “I applaud Discovery’s longstanding commitment to the Administration’s ‘Educate to Innovate’ initiative to help improve science, technology, engineering, and math education in the United States.”

The announcements were made today by Discovery Communications President and CEO David Zaslav at a STEM education event hosted by Benjamin Banneker Middle School in Burtonsville, Maryland. Also speaking at the event were Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett, Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Joshua P. Starr, and Kal Penn, host of Discovery Channel’s THE BIG BRAIN THEORY: PURE GENIUS.

"Our greatest asset is the talents, skills, creativity, and ingenuity of our people," said Governor O'Malley. "Preparation for becoming the future leaders in science, technology, engineering and mathematics is essential in pursuing the better future we all prefer.  The primary ingredient of innovation is education, the STEM disciplines in particular.  We are pleased to have partners like Discovery Communications to help provide more of our people with the education and skills to be successful."

"Montgomery County's future, Maryland's future, and America's future lies in inspiring and empowering our young people in science, technology, engineering, and math," said Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett. "Students here at Benjamin Banneker and elsewhere will benefit mightily from Discovery Communications’ 'Connect the Dots ' initiative."

“High-quality STEM programs teach our students how to solve problems, analyze data, and how to work as a team, which are important skills they will need in college and the 21st century workplace,” said MCPS Superintendent Joshua P. Starr. “I am excited to share the outstanding science and math work being done at Benjamin Banneker Middle and throughout Montgomery County Public Schools.”

Also in conjunction with today’s announcement, 150 students from Benjamin Banneker Middle School were hosted at the White House for a STEM education panel discussion featuring administration officials. “Connect the Dots” is an extension of Discovery’s ongoing commitment in support of President Obama’s “Educate to Innovate” initiative to encourage more girls and boys to excel in STEM subjects.

As part of its ongoing commitment to promoting STEM engagement in classrooms around the world, Discovery Education announced the launch of Discovery Education STEM Camp, a dynamic series of standards-aligned curricula available at no cost to schools, districts, non-profit organizations and parents for use as part of summer camps, after-school learning opportunities, and other educational programs. Created in collaboration with leading educators, Discovery Education STEM Camp combines hands-on and virtual labs, engineering challenges, digital investigations, interactive videos and career connections designed to inspire and engage students in learning about STEM subjects. Launching this summer, STEM Camp will be deployed in conjunction with key partners, including the Afterschool Alliance, Mayor Rahm Emanuel's Chicago Summer of Learning Initiative and Chicago Public Schools.  The program is designed to support the grand challenges of science issued by the National Academy of Engineers, with curricula built around the STEM-related topics of water, urban infrastructure and energy. The Discovery Education STEM Camp curricula can be accessed at www.discoveryeducation.com/STEM.

“Building STEM literacy among America’s next generation of leaders is critical to meet the global challenges that lie ahead and prepare students for tomorrow’s careers,” said Bill Goodwyn, CEO, Discovery Education. “We know that learning doesn’t stop when the class bell rings.  After-school hours and summer months provide valuable opportunities to engage and excite students.  Programs like Discovery Education STEM Camp maximize time spent outside traditional learning environments, keeping students inspired by learning and providing them with the tools they need today to compete for the jobs of tomorrow.”

THE BIG BRAIN THEORY: PURE GENIUS premieres May 1 at 10 p.m. E/P on Discovery Channel. Each week, 10 contestants will navigate engineering challenges using design and logic as they compete to see who will be America’s next great innovator.  The program is hosted by actor and producer Kal Penn, who also worked on outreach to young Americans in the White House as a member of the Obama administration. Penn and the series were recognized at the White House Science Fair on April 22, where students from the Discovery Education 3M Young Scientist Challenge and Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge exhibited their work.

More information on all of Discovery’s “Connect the Dots” STEM education programs can be found online at www.DiscoveryEducation.com/STEM. Other programs designed to promote STEM learning and careers across Discovery’s businesses include:

  • New Science-Related Programming on Science Channel:  Premiering in November, critically acclaimed actor James Woods takes viewers on a journey to reveal world-changing breakthroughs and their implications for the future in THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING. Each episode looks at one idea, discovery or grand challenge that will critically alter life as we know it: Synthetic Biology, Predictive Analytics, Habitable Planets, Nano Technology and more.  What's happening in these game-changing fields?  What does it mean for us? Woods asks the big questions to help ignite debate and reveals a stunning image of the future.
  • Media Sponsorship of National Manufacturing Day:  Science Channel will be the official media sponsor of Manufacturing Day on Friday, October 4, 2013. Manufacturing Day is a broad-based grassroots effort created to drive public awareness of the American manufacturing industry and manufacturing careers. The network’s popular manufacturing series, HOW IT’S MADE, also was named official program partner for the event. Long a staple of the Science Channel lineup, HOW IT’S MADE has revealed the engineering and ingenuity behind over one thousand factory-made products since its debut.  New episodes of the series air Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET/PT.

The sponsorship of National Manufacturing Day also supports the company’s “Discover Your Skills” public affairs job skills initiative, designed to provide unemployed and underemployed Americans with access to critical resources for obtaining marketable job skills and expertise, and to raise awareness of career opportunities. It includes www.DiscoverYourSkills.com, an online resource providing links and information to help educate, prepare and advance entry to the workforce.

  • Capitol Hill STEM Diversity Event: This fall, Discovery Communications and STEMconnector®, in conjunction with members of the Congressional Black Caucus, Congressional Hispanic Caucus, the Congressional Asian Pacific American Caucus, and the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues, will host an event on Capitol Hill to highlight the importance of diversity in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM).  The event will recognize the many contributions and accomplishments of women and minorities in the STEM fields and serve as a forum for the discussion of policies and strategies to improve diversity in STEM.
  • Stoking Curiosity Online: Reaching more than 60 million unique visitors each month, Discovery Communications has long ensured that science and technology are at the core of its digital offerings. Discovery News, which made its online debut in 1998 as a go-to destination for intelligent, thought-provoking content, is now reaching a new generation with DNews, an original online video channel offering smart daily takes on the world with a science bent.

Most recently, DNews brought the White House Science Fair to life for audiences with coverage from the April 22 event. Additionally, realizing that relatable personalities are key to inspiring youth, HowStuffWorks is reigniting that spark of curiosity that many lose as they grow older through its popular podcasts, such as Stuff You Should Know. The podcasts, available through iTunes and to classrooms across the country through Discovery Education, also have led to new, dedicated “Stuff” websites that now feature new video series, daily blogs and more – giving kids (and their parents) new, engaging ways to drive interest in STEM topics. StuffYouShouldKnow.comStufftoBlowYourMind.com and FWThinking.com are currently live and new destinations for Stuff Mom Never Told You and Stuff They Don't Want You to Know will launch shortly.

  • Lumosity Education Access Program (LEAP):  Discovery is a strategic investor in Lumosity, which is committed to pioneering the understanding and enhancement of the human brain to give each person the power to unlock their full potential. As a part of the company's commitment to education, Lumosity provides a no-cost program for schools K-12 called the Lumosity Education Access Program (LEAP), which seeks to study the effects of cognitive training in the classroom. Lumosity's online and mobile programs train core cognitive abilities such as memory and attention, teaching users about the neuroplasticity of their brains along the way, and can encourage a growth mindset in students that builds a stronger foundation for STEM learning.

Launched in 2007, Lumosity now has more than 40 games, 40 million members, and paying subscribers from 180 countries. Lumosity’s games are based on the latest discoveries in neuroscience, with continuing independent third-party studies being conducted by researchers at Harvard, Stanford, UC Berkeley, and other academic institutions. Lumosity is available at Lumosity.com and on the iPhone. Lumosity is headquartered in San Francisco, California. For more information, please visit www.lumosity.com.  

Additionally, on the local level in its home town of Silver Spring, Maryland, Discovery is undertaking the following programs:

  • Lead Sponsor of Silver Spring Maker Faire:  Discovery will serve as lead sponsor of the Silver Spring Maker Faire – the first ever official Mini Maker Faire in the Washington, DC metropolitan area – which will be held on Sunday, September 29 at Veterans Plaza in Silver Spring. The Maker Faire will be produced by KID Museum, an emerging children’s museum in Montgomery County focused on cultivating creativity, curiosity and compassion in kids. It will include a wide range of creative, interactive exhibits such as constructing and racing your own lunar Rover with NASA scientists, experimenting with 3D printers, building a giant marble run, using recycled materials to create new toys and taking apart and repurposing real objects, such as electronics and toys.
  • Open House at the Discovery Creative and Technology Center:  In conjunction with National Manufacturing Day, Discovery will conduct an open house at its Discovery Creative and Technology Center (DCTC) in Silver Spring, Maryland. The public will have the opportunity to see first-hand how Discovery manufactures content for its portfolio of U.S. networks, and the skilled job opportunities available in the media industry.

About Discovery Communications
Discovery Communications (Nasdaq: DISCA, DISCB, DISCK) is the world's #1 nonfiction media company reaching more than 1.8 billion cumulative subscribers in 218 countries and territories. Discovery is dedicated to satisfying curiosity through 155 worldwide television networks, led by Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Science and Investigation Discovery, as well as U.S. joint venture networks OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network, The Hub and 3net, the first 24-hour 3D network. Across the Nordic region, Discovery owns and operates SBS Discovery Media, a top-three portfolio of 20 television brands that feature leading nonfiction content, as well as locally produced entertainment programs, sports and the best scripted series and movies from major studios. Discovery also is a leading provider of educational products and services to schools and owns and operates a diversified portfolio of digital media services, including Revision3. For more information, please visit  www.discoverycommunications.com.

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